Hey! Are you ready to find a reliable and reputable eCommerce virtual bookkeeping service?
Then you came to the right article 🙂
This entire article is all about guiding YOU, a business owner in the eCommerce space, to finding a virtual bookkeeping service that you can rely on for years to come.
When I was 20 years old, I was running one of my first eCommerce businesses and our finances were a mess.
We were months behind at all times and we hated the bookkeeping work when we finally dragged ourselves to doing it and getting caught up.
Because of this, we missed the opportunity to really understand our numbers and make smart business decisions off of the finances.
This hurt us as business owners and entrepreneurs and we eventually realized that we needed to find a bookkeeping service to help us take it off of our plates.
When we made the investment into a bookkeeping service, it allowed us to stay focused on the growth of the business AND it provided us with on-time, accurate reports so we could understand how the business was making or losing money.
That consistent knowledge each month allowed us to grow into better business owners and a majority of our decisions became focused on what was happening in the business financially each month.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve continued to hone our skills in financial management as we’ve scaled companies from zero to 7 and 8 figures.
Today, at EcomBalance, we work hard to help our clients better understand their numbers so they too can scale their companies to 6, 7, and 8 figures and eventual exit opportunities.
Before we dive into 6 steps you can take to find your business a virtual bookkeeping service, let’s chat about some common questions that may be running through your head as you make this search:
When’s the right time to get a virtual bookkeeping service for your eCommerce business?
As I said above, we went through the worst of the worst making ourselves do the books past the time when we should have been.
From my experience, the best time to get a virtual bookkeeping service is when:
- You can afford it — see next question for details about expected pricing
- It’s taking up too much of your time
- You’re not getting accurate, on-time books each month by the 15th
When any one of these things happen, it’s time to start considering looking.
You’ll thank yourself a couple months later when you’re working with a reliable virtual bookkeeper and you don’t have to worry about doing the finances anymore.
What should you expect to pay for an eCommerce specific bookkeeping service?
Pricing can vary for eCommerce virtual bookkeeping services, depending on how large and complex your business is. Large meaning the number of transactions you have on a monthly basis. Complex meaning the number of sales channels, banks, credit cards, and payment processors that you have.
If your books are up to date, you can expect to pay between $200 to $1,000+ per month for a reliable virtual bookkeeping service.
If your books are not up to date or need organization, then you should also expect to pay an additional, one-time Catch Up or Clean Up fee. Every bookkeeper prices their Catch Up and Clean Up work differently so it’s best to speak with them to see what it may cost you.
Our recommendation (as you’ll see below) is to speak with a number of different options so you can see how they handle their onboarding process and you can get custom pricing quotes from each. From there, you can compare and contrast until you find one that you’re satisfied with.
What will they do for you?
Virtual bookkeeping services for eCommerce businesses normally cover the following:
- Monthly bookkeeping: Bringing all of your transactions into a software like Quickbooks Online or Xero, categorizing all of your transactions, reconciling your bank accounts, and creating your Profit and Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cashflow Statement.
- Catch Up: If your books are behind at all, they’ll bring them up to speed for you.
- Clean Up: If your books have never been created or they need better organization so your reports are easier to understand, the bookkeeper will get it all cleaned up for you.
- Payroll management
- AP and AR management
- Sales tax
- Custom reports
- Tax services
There are other offers that eCommerce virtual bookkeeping services will also have, but these are the most common from our experience.
How is eCommerce bookkeeping different?
Ecommerce bookkeeping is different from bookkeeping for other small businesses because of the complexities it has that other businesses don’t run into.
- Sales channels: Ecommerce businesses sell on marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart and platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. Each sales channel reports numbers to its sellers slightly differently. Because of this, it creates further complexity when handling bookkeeping for an eCommerce business.
- Sales tax: Ecommerce businesses need to worry about tracking sales tax and paying it depending on where they have nexus as a business. Some channels like Amazon handle it for you, but others require you to keep it organized on your end. This is additional knowledge that an eCommerce bookkeeper needs to have over a traditional bookkeeper.
- Inventory: Many eCommerce companies hold inventory. This creates more complexity when it comes to bookkeeping because you have to determine how to account for that inventory in the business.
These are three common differences for eCommerce businesses when it comes to bookkeeping, but there are other as well.
As an eCommerce business owner, it’s important that you hire a virtual bookkeeping service that has eCommerce experience so that they can handle situations like this that arise.
Here’s our process for finding a 5 star eCommerce virtual bookkeeping service:
- Step 1: Get your financials together
- Step 2: Depict your perfect virtual bookkeeper (know what you want!)
- Step 3: Learn your virtual bookkeeping options
- Step 4: Meet and get pricing from multiple options
- Step 5: Evaluate your top options
- Step 6: Go with your “most perfect” option
Let’s dive into each step. Feel free to take notes as you go through so you can replicate the process after you finish reading. If you have any questions, just let us know.
6 Steps to Find the Best Ecommerce Virtual Bookkeeping Service For Your Growing Business
The process of finding a reliable and reputable virtual bookkeeping service for your eCommerce business can be simple and efficient.
The 6 steps below will guide you through the research and decision process so that you’re confident in the virtual bookkeeping service you choose and they cater directly to your business.
Step 1: Get your financials together
The first step is to get your financials together.
What does this entail?
To explain this step, let’s break it down into a few different scenarios…
Situation #1: Your books are up to date and you’re using an online accounting software like Quickbooks Online or Xero
If you’re a business with your bookkeeping up to speed and you’re already using an online accounting software, you’re in great shape.
We recommend that you go into your books and make sure everything looks correct for the most previous 12 months of bookkeeping. Check your sales, sales channels, expenses, and net profits ensuring that they are all 100% correct.
Once you’re confident that your books are up to date and correct, move onto Step #2. This is all you’ll need in order to start reaching out to potential bookkeeping companies.
Situation #2: Your books are up to date and you’re using a Google Sheet or Excel file to organize them
In this case, you’re still in good shape as well. Similar to situation #1, you want to go through your last 12 months of books and make sure everything looks good. Most bookkeeping services will want to see your past year of books so that they can understand your business and provide you with a custom pricing quote.
Once you’ve done your checks, move onto Step #2.
Situation #3: Your books are not up to date and need months of catch up work
If you fall into this situation, don’t worry. Virtual bookkeeping services specialize in helping their clients get their bookkeeping up to date. You will have to pay an extra fee for them to help you with that, but it’s an important part of handling your books properly.
In order to get ready to speak with potential bookkeeping companies, go through your books, understand how many months of catch up work you need, and make sure you understand your books through the month that they are finished. This will help in your conversations with the bookkeeping companies.
Once you’ve done that, move onto Step #2.
Situation #4: You’ve never created books for your business before and you need clean up and catch up work to get your financials situated
In this situation, your main goal before talking to potential virtual bookkeeping services is to get all of your financial information together. This includes, but is not limited to past tax returns, list of your bank accounts, list of credit cards, list of payment processors, list of sales channels, etc. This is information that most bookkeeping companies will ask for in order to understand your current business and provide you with a custom pricing quote.
Once you have all of that information together, you’re ready to move onto Step #2.
If you have a situation that is outside of these 4, make a comment below or reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you with your custom situation.
Step 2: Depict your perfect virtual bookkeeper (know what you want!)
Once you have a good understanding of your financials and that work that you’ll need completed, the next step is to take some time to really think about WHO your ideal virtual bookkeeping service is.
Directions: Think through the following topics. Write down your ideal outcome for each one. At the end, look at all of the factors that you wrote down. This is your ideal virtual bookkeeping service. This should guide you as you head into Step #3 where you’ll be researching your bookkeeping options.
Topics for Thought:
- Where are they located? Your state? Your city? Your country? Do you not care where they are located?
- How much experience do they have? Do you care if they’re newer to the space? Or do you want the oldest, most established service?
- Do they specialize within eCommerce? How important is that to you? What if they don’t have any eCommerce experience?
- What is your ideal price point for their monthly bookkeeping services? Remember what we mentioned above as the average.
- If you need Catch Up and Clean Up work done, what is your ideal budget for that? Be realistic here and look at what average prices are per bookkeeping service.
- What is your ideal flow of communication? Is email okay? Do you want monthly or quarterly phone calls? Do you want them on your Slack channel for faster communication?
- Do you care which accounting software they use to organize your books? Quickbooks Online and Xero are the 2 most popular in the US.
- How important are client reviews for you? Ideally, what do you want the reviews to be saying about the bookkeeping company?
- Do you have a preference for how large of a company they are? Would you rather work with a smaller business or a very large one?
- Finally, what else is important to you in your bookkeeper that we haven’t mentioned above?
Tip: Do this activity with your founding team and get rid of all other distractions. Turn off your notifications and spend 30 minutes to 1 hour discussing this together. The more in sync you are at the end of the activity, the better suited you’ll be to dive into Step #3 where you’ll be researching the different virtual bookkeeping service options in the market.
Step 3: Learn your virtual bookkeeping options
To make things easier for you, we put together an article about the 10 Best Remote Bookkeeping Services for Small Business in 2022.
Here’s a list of the 10 best remote bookkeeping services that we list in the article along with a handful of others that cater to the eCommerce industry.
- Bean Ninjas
- Fully Accountable
- Catching Clouds
If you search “eCommerce bookkeeping services” on Google, you’ll find plenty of options for eCommerce bookkeeping companies out there.
This list comprises reputable and reliable bookkeeping services that have been around and have serviced lots of eCommerce companies and entrepreneurs.
Take the time to complete your own due diligence and narrow it down to a top 3 that you want to move to Step 4 with.
This is where you’ll reach out to them to understand their services better and get a custom pricing quote on how much it will cost for you to hire them for your business.
Step 4: Meet and get pricing from multiple options
The next step in finding the right virtual bookkeeping service for your business is, in a sense, interviewing your top 3 options and getting concrete pricing from each of them.
As you’ll find in your initial research, most virtual bookkeeping sites will offer ballpark pricing, but you’ll need to reach out to them in order to get a more customized quote.
The reason for this is that the cost to the bookkeeping service can vary drastically depending on the details of your business.
- If your business uses a bank that is harder to work with when integrating with Quickbooks Online or Xero, it may cost the bookkeepers longer which may result in a slightly higher price to you.
- If your business is selling on 1 eCommerce channel versus 5, the cost will be different as that adds a lot more work for the bookkeepers to handle.
- If your business needs help with any other services in addition to the monthly bookkeeping reports. This could include payroll, invoicing, AP, AR, and custom reports.
While virtual bookkeeping may seem simple on the surface, it becomes quite intricate and detailed as you dive deeper.
Virtual bookkeeping companies specialize in doing that deep dive into your business so that they can provide you with the best possible pricing based off of where your books are currently, what services you need completed on a monthly basis, and how much they expect it to cost them.
Here’s the steps to follow to get your custom pricing quotes:
- Go to the site of each virtual bookkeeping company that you’ve identified as your top 3. Head to their Pricing page and follow their prompts for getting your custom pricing quote. This may involve submitting a form or setting up a call.
- Follow the additional steps that the virtual bookkeeping company reaches out to you about. This could include View Only access to your current books so that they can really further understand your business and where your books are at.
This will put you in a great position to move on to Step 5 where you’ll evaluate the pricing from each company.
Step 5: Evaluate your top options
Once you have pricing quotes from each of your top options, it’s time to really dive into them and make sure that you have all of the information that you need in order to make a decision.
We recommend doing this with the other owners of your business and anyone else that is critical to the decision. For example, your CFO.
Here are the steps to follow while reviewing the pricing quotes:
- Review the pricing quote from each company. You should receive these usually within 1 week from when you submitted all of your information. Look at how they break it down and make sure that you fully understand everything that they are proposing they will do for you. If you asked for additional services that you wanted to see quotes for, make sure they are clear.
- Reach out to the company and ask them any questions that you have about the quote. Negotiate if you feel that you want to see if you can get a lower price out of them.
Make sure that you don’t leave any stone unturned.
Take the time to speak with each virtual bookkeeping company to really understand the pricing quotes and to get a feel for who you feel the most comfortable communicating with.
Remember that this choice is one that is not permanent, but one that you want to get right so that you don’t have to go through this process again 6 months down the line. Ideally, this company becomes an integral part of your business that you can rely on for years to come.
Once you feel that you have all of the information that you need to make a decision, move on to Step 6 where you’ll make that decision with your leadership team.
Step 6: Go with your “most perfect” option
You’ve made it to the final step of choosing the best virtual bookkeeping service for your business! Congrats!
This final step is one that you want to take seriously and that you want your leadership team involved in. As was said above, ideally this hire is one that lasts for years down the line as your business continues to scale.
Here’s what we suggest doing:
Make your decision on which virtual bookkeeping service is the best for your business. Go off of the prices that you were provided, the services they’ll be handling, your feel for how their communication was, and the reputation of each company.
Make sure that you’re not just going with the lowest price when it comes to your bookkeeper. While staying within your budget is important, you also want the best suited bookkeeping company handling your books.
Make sure to look at all of the factors:
- How experienced are they in the eCommerce industry?
- How strong is their reputation online from past clients?
- How has their communication been throughout the pricing quote process?
- How will communication be once you sign up as a client?
- Do you feel that you can trust them?
Once you’ve looked at all of the factors, make your final decision and move forward.
This is a huge step for your business and you’ll be glad you went through this detailed process months down the line when you’re still working with the same virtual bookkeeping business and you know you can trust them.
Choosing a virtual bookkeeping service for your business is a HUGE decision.
As your company grows in revenues, expenses, employees, inventory, eCommerce channels, and the many other factors impacting your eCommerce business, it’s important that you have someone that you can trust to handle your bookkeeping on a monthly basis.
When you have someone that you can trust and that delivers your eCommerce books on time each month, you become better equipped as a business owner to make smart decisions and grow your business faster.
With the correct bookkeeping information, you can understand your eCommerce numbers better, be a better leader for your business, and work towards realistic financial goals for the company.
When you don’t have a bookkeeper that you can trust, all of those abilities dissipate and it becomes harder to run your eCommerce business.
We don’t want that for you and I’m sure you don’t want that for yourself either.
That’s why we put this article together about how we’d approach finding an eCommerce virtual bookkeeping service.
EcomBalance is a monthly bookkeeping service for eCommerce companies. EcomBalance handles your bookkeeping and sends you a Profit and Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement by the 15th of each month. EcomBalance also has a sister company, AccountsBalance, that caters to agencies, software companies, coaches, and other online companies.
If you have any questions about the process or you found this useful, please share this article with your community and drop a line in the comments below.